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WASHINGTON — Sens. Bob Casey, D.-Pa., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent the abuse of cough syrup to get high by restricting the sale of products containing dextromethorphan to adults older than 18 years of age.
“By addressing easy access to purchasing cough syrup for teens, the main cause of the harmful trend of its abuse, my bill will help keep our children safe and lessen the strain cough syrup abuse has put on families, hospitals and law enforcement,” Casey said. “My common-sense legislation will prevent kids from purchasing a drug that has dangerous consequences when abused to get high, while also ensuring it is available to those with a legitimate need for it.”
“This legislation powerfully complements our ongoing educational initiatives to raise awareness about this troubling behavior,” CHPA president and CEO Scott Melville said. “It will give parents an additional tool to prevent abuse, while ensuring access for the millions of adults and families who responsibly use products containing DXM to relieve cough symptoms. We are extremely pleased to see such strong leadership from Sens. Casey and Murkowski and encourage Congress to pass this legislation.”
The active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough and cold medicines DXM is safe when taken as recommended, but 5% of teenagers report having intentionally taken large doses of DXM for effects that include hallucinations, confusion, blurred vision and loss of motor control. Sen. Casey’s Prevent Abuse of Cough Treatments Act will make it harder for teens to purchase the drug while still keeping cough medications accessible to those who use them for their intended purpose.
In addition to placing an age-restriction on the sale of DXM products, the PACT Act will ensure that only legitimate entities registered with the FDA or comparable state agencies can purchase raw, unfinished (bulk) dextromethorphan.